Mere paas ma hai

I am a Bollywood child. I took a long time to be initiated to the world of Hollywood. And even longer to World movies, which by the way I still don’t think I am into, because somehow, it is tough for me to watch a movie where the lip sync is off, and I have to solely depend on subtitles. ‘Amelie’ was an exception but there is not much being said in the movie anyway, so I managed.

But Bollywood, I swear by. I was introduced to Bollywood movies at a very early age, and my mother’s favourite memory is of me accompanying extended family to watch Dimple Kapadia starrer ‘Saagar’, where while the whole cinema hall went into a silent stupor as the beautiful actress bathed in the sea, and then stepped out marginally clothed, I broke the magic of the moment by squealing “Yeh Aunty yahaan kyun naha rahi hai, inke ghar me bathroom nahi hai kya”? Google says I was 3 months short of turning three then, so yes, like I said, very early.

The love continued to grow, and my personal first memory of watching a movie in the cinema hall is ‘Mr. India’. The parody song which I went to learn in sequence and by heart then, remains etched in my memory till today. “Arun Bhaiyya” was a hero in my head, and “Mogambo” scared me shitless. The very cool aspect of going invisible and bonking horrible bald villains on their heads with Hanumanji’s statue, priceless. And of course, those many tears I shed when little Tina gets killed because of that bomb in the teddy bear, right there in my head. Then there was ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’. While my sister insisted on watching the “Prem-Suman” movie every time the TV was switched on, I was now capable of admiring the squeaky voiced  Bhagyashree’s , gauzy, frilly ‘frock’ from “Mere rang me”. That, and a lesson on how pigeons have a photographic memory, and they will hurt you back if you hurt them ever.

Post this, we moved cities, and my dad declared that we would no longer be visiting cinema halls, because they were not safe enough. So the only way we could watch new movies now was to rent a VCP, and two video cassettes for the day, and mostly, the print would be awful. But that didn’t deter us, and we would religiously watch whatever we had brought, scrunch our eyes to make out the outlines, try hard to listen to the dialogues, and eventually like the movie by default.That’s how I watched ‘Deewana’, feeling all smug that my namesake was perhaps the prettiest actress ever , ‘Bol Radha Bol’, where I couldn’t have enough of “Tu tu tara” and Juhi’s atrocious green and pink  gaon-waali clothes, ‘Aankhen’ (oh-so-funny, look there is a monkey!), and ‘Hum hain Rahi Pyar ke’ (Wow! A south Indian character for the heroine, and she speaks good hindi, AND, wait for it, she is fair (Gasp!) Wait till my classmates watch this!) out of the top of my mind.

This went on for 3 years, and when ‘Jurassic Park’ released (Hindi me), my dad conceded to take us to a movie hall again. References to the “Badi Chipkali” apart, this was an awesome experience after a long time. And marked the beginning of a new era, where on random Sunday mornings, we would pester Dad for a movie, and then rush to “Mottai Uncle’s” place to pick up the day’s copy of ‘Dainik Jagaran’ for the movie listings.Then, we would all pile onto the scooter (later a shared ‘tempo’) and go to catch the pick of the day. This was invariably my choice, since the little sister pretty much accepted what I said. So there was a long barrage of Akshay Kumar movies, as now I had realized that you could actually fancy actors, and didn’t always have to root for how pretty the actresses were. And fancy Akki, I did. So a few good movies, and some really rotten movies later (I picked ‘Jai Kishan’ over ‘1942 A love story’, beat that), I got over the “I will only watch Akshay Kumar movies” phase and accepted that there could be other movies out there.

Then came DDLJ. This was a turning point which created an even bigger space in my heart for Bollywood. DDLJ was the complete package. Hello, there was SWITZERLAND! Zurich! So exotic. So romantic. So Sigh. So real right, I mean obviously one had to fall in love with the guy who was a super flirt, and annoyed the hell out of the girl in general, but like changed for her! Right? Right. And wow, pretty clothes, and Eu-rail  It also helped that I was in n a co-ed school which was highly into crushes, and Archie’s cards with hearts on them, and “I really like you and want to make friendship with you” stuff at the time. So, all that, combined with the “Come, fall in love” declaration, well, added up to quite a lot of filmy daydreams, where you were Simran (obviously!), and there was a Raj waiting for you. Only the ones who eventually did approach you were super short, or bad at studies (yes, that was a criterion), and hence rejected.

Anyway, starting then, Bollywood was all about the larger than life glamour for me. Locales, flimsy chiffon sarees in the snow, huge havelis, large groups of backup dancers with synchronized steps and clothes.The movies also impacted our lives. Like one of friends grew her hair after maintaining a stylish boy cut all her life, because of the universal fact that guys choose girly girls over tomboys (credit: Kuch Kuch Hota hai). I, thankfully restricted myself to wondering if my current crush at school would see my 5 years later (I didn’t want to wait for too long also) and sing “Dekho yeh pagli, bilkul na badli”. Or if any of those boys around who were awesome at annoying me, actually had the ‘Raj’ potential, because you know, there is a thin line between love-hate and all that. Heh..

And so it has stayed. My obsession with typical Bollywood movies. This is not to say that Bollywood does not give us realistic movies, it does, and  more so these days. I watch these ‘intelligent’ movies as well, and enjoy them too. But with time, I have come to realize that I actually love Bollywood movies much more for the niche genre that they have built for themselves. The  whole drama, the exaggerated emotions, impromptu song and dance, the elaborate sets, the “British museum turned into a college”, and  the shiny costumes. Because when I start watching such a movie, I know beforehand that I am about to enter a world where 17 year olds wear designer brands, and their biggest worry is that their boyfriend of four years is not taking them seriously enough, because when I was 17, I had board exams. Or a world where an Armani suit donning, extremely good looking billionaire, falls in love with this hitch pitched Mithai shop owner girl, because he sees her dancing on the road when India wins a cricket match.

In short, the impracticality of it all. The unrealism. The whole “this is too exaggerated to be true” aspect. Pretty, but silly. Fun, but duh. Awesome, but ‘Seriously?!”While some might think that this is what makes Bollywood’s commercial offerings extremely dumb and inane, I think this is exactly what makes it hardcore, unadulterated entertainment.

Because if it is reality you’re looking for, you always have life to get back to at the end of the 3 hours.


32 thoughts on “Mere paas ma hai

  1. LOL at “Yeh Aunty yahaan kyun naha rahi hai, inke ghar me bathroom nahi hai kya?” You actually said that!?!
    Loved reading your relationships with movie…
    So your name is Divya?! So DI is for Divya??! Hahaha, i am Sharelock holmes 😉 :mrgreen:

      1. oops…
        Now like Manoj Bajpai says in Special Chhabbis, “yaha kahi chullu bhar paani milega?” I will need it…
        Has it always been there, or you recently updated?

        1. Heheh, on 7th November 2012 as is stated on the very same page! 😀 😉
          But yeah, I tried anonymity for a long time and then stopped fooling myself!

          1. Aaah, that’s the reason behind my foot in mouth…
            I must have tried to read the page before that date, when i commented 1st time on your blog somewhere in May 🙂 The “historical me” page content i remember reading (was it not called by different name at that time?) And BTW was it your About page where i read that “what will you know about me from here, that you won’t from the blog. go read it” or something of that effect? ( i am seriously hoping that i am not putting my foot in my mouth again 😉 )
            i normally read About page on every blog i comment on, i wondered how did i miss yours…

  2. I think I very large comment I wrote vanished 😦
    Anyway here again:

    Bollywood is Bollywood. Whatever you say about those teary Korean movies or touching Majidi mvovies , or lovely French movies… You can get all of that and much more (eg hookah bar and dreamum wakeup am ;)) here! This is masala, entertainment to it s maximum. More than a sixth of the world watches Bollywood movies… And it is so important to people’s lives here that the Times of India manages to run page 1 news items dedicated to Bollywood 🙂

    It was a bit tough for me to accept that you are a hard core Hindi movie buff… But your tweets ( that have given me ear worms) and this three hour long blog post now, don’t give me any second thoughts 😀

    And BTW, did you watch Kaipo Che?

    1. I lou lou lou Bollywood. I think if there was a quiz, I would score the highest.
      And that LOU only overflowed when I was writing this post. Trust me, I cut it short here 😐 And I did not venture into the songs bit because, well, I did not want it to be a day long post also!
      No, not watched it 😦 Been off movies for a while, baby does that. But have decided to get back soon, so fingers crossed!
      Post anytime?

      1. ah! well…cannto deny. can i?? and to say that bollywood does know the very existence of this feeling so much so that that too is covered in the movies , recall Akki’s sis in Main khiladi Tu Anari or Deepika padukone in Om Shanti Om ..falling for bollywood actors!!…from “…tumhaare fan list mein sabse pehla naam mera hai” to …”chab tum saath maale ki bldg si chalaang lagaathe ho, tho main believ karthi hoon…”!!! well picture theen cheezon se chalti hai…”entertainment, entertainment, entertainment!” and bollywood is bang on it!!! 😀

        1. Oh ya! That is the other extreme 😐 I would say! But that fandom also exists only in our country right? With the temples for actors and all! For me, the whole fact that is a farce world where anything can happen, where good will win, the villains will be beaten up, makes up for harsher realities that we face:)

  3. The day we watched Kuch Kuch Hota Hain my cousin and I were smitten. We wanted to be Anjali. We pinned a sock across our hair instead of the hair band. I even wanted a boy cut. ‘Cause let’s face it, at the end of a long and tiring journey the girl with boy cut did get the girl (after she became girly, but whatever).

    Bollywood FTW!

    1. As you already mentioned the girl with the boy cut had to GROW her hair to get that selfish guy. Hmph. It still annoys me btw 😦 FTW indeed! 😀

  4. You took me to a beautiful journey of all my fav Bollywood films, but I would chose 1942 a love story any day over Jai Kishen 😉

    And I am such a big movie freak that language is no bar for me, may be its something to do with introduction of Hollywood movies at an early age. My dad makes special arrangement for movies, or even used to allow us to miss school/college if there is a big release. So yes it’s in the blood :).

    A did i say I loved the last line the most 🙂

    1. Wow! Bunking school for movies is awesome! That too with your father’s approval 🙂 I never had that, and I doubt my daughter will too 😉

  5. Hahahah! I did watch a bit of Hindi movies..and NO english movies at all when I was a kid…my parents werent big fans of movies and it was my uncle aunty who used to cajole my parents into letting us go…

    You know whats the first movie I watched in a cinema hall? – Daddy! it was a movie with Pooja Bhat and Anupam Kher..and I dont even know what happened…I slept off mid way 🙂

    1. Oh Good! Then I have company on the no english movie phase childhood, yay!
      I saw Daddy much later, and love the movie now 🙂 I have only slept through one movie till today, 300. 😦

  6. 😀 Even I had the No-English movie childhood which was broken by Jurassic park and other such movies with extinct species 😛
    My first movie was Thalapathy, I guess and as for Bollywood, I started watching Hindi cinema in halls much later and the epic Hum aapke hain kaun was my first 😀
    This post is like perfect Bollywood timeline!

    1. 🙂 Aha! Lots of people who had less access to Hollywood during childhood looks like, so yay to us! 😀
      On a different note, my first Tam movie was Anjali, which made me cry, and then Nayakan, which I did not understand AT ALL 🙂

  7. ROFL at your “Yeh Aunty..” comment! 😀
    My parents weren’t really movie buffs..So the only movies I saw as a kid, in a movie hall was Hum Aapke Hain Kaun with my grandparents and cousins. I was 7 then and I had not discovered my sarcastic self..otherwise the experience would have been more memorable! 😀
    I do remember getting the Saagar Cassette home. And Beta too. God knows why. Such awesome memories of the 90s. I should go write a post on that!

    1. Hahaha! Tell me about it! I have started but not posted my current thoughts on Maine Pyar Kiya too! These movies are EPIC! 😀
      Do the post now, DO IT!

  8. lol! loved this post. brought back many memories. sigh.

    and english movies – i called them foreign english movies and actually believed for the longest time that foreign english was different – different spelling, grammar, the works because they sounded so different. And I thought sub titles were translation. okay, enough confession for one night. lovely post DI!

    1. Lol about Foreign English! English movies meant only. My fair lady, and sound of music and Aladdin for a long time! 🙂
      And Thanks very much, this was one heartfelt post!

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